It was used to command and regulate magic

It was used to command and regulate magic

The Ancient Language was once a language of all beings in Alagaesia, but was later used only by the elves and some humans, along with the dwarves with one moment being the crowning of their king. It was the language of the Grey Folk, beings who had settled in Alagaesia after dwarves and dragons, those who were native to the land, they settled where the elves and humans would live a few centuries later. After a tragic incident which killed most of the beings in Alagaesia, they managed to tie their language with magic through unknown means. Each act of magic was linked to a specific word: therefore, it was generally true that the more knowledge one had of the Ancient Language, the more magic they could perform. It was also possible for experienced magicians to utilize Non-verbal manipulation, although this was extremely dangerous, if the mind wandered the spell would change. For example, if a magician cast non-verbally, for example ‘Burn that door’, and focused on something other than the door, they may accidentally burn that instead.

It was impossible to lie in the Ancient Language because words spoken in the language were unquestionably true-although, it was said that the elves were masters at saying one thing and meaning another (for example, Eragon said he was well in Eldest after Arya’s rejection meaning her rejection but focusing on his back to make it true). Because of the candid nature of the language, oaths of allegiance and similar contracts were usually conducted in it, ensuring they would not be broken, though they could be twisted to be ineffective if the one who made the oath left enough loopholes in their wording. However it’s possible to say something that is not true in the ancient language, if the person speaking it believes it to be true (Murtagh swore to Eragon that they were both Morzan’s sons, because he had no knowlegde of their mother’s affair with Brom).

Names in the Ancient Language were «true names» and the knowledge of such a title was a source of power and control. The same holds true of the name of the Ancient Language itself: the knowledge of the name allows one to change the meaning of its words. The name was found by Galbatorix and subsequently used against him in the final confrontation with him.

History [ ]

The Ancient Language was once spoken by all beings in Alagaesia, with the originators of the language being the Grey Folk. Prior to being intertwined with magic, magic was controlled exclusively by the thoughts of a spell-caster, usually only the elves, with the rare exception of a dragon. This resulted in numerous opportunities for accidents, as a wielder of magic could inadvertently shift their thoughts in the midst of casting a spell, diverting the flow of energy. When the world was nearly destroyed because of a single accidental spell of non-verbal magic, the Grey Folk bound the Ancient Language to the very basis of magic.

The language was forgotten after the departure of the Grey Folk, but was reintroduced when the elves brought it back over the sea from Alalea. By the time of the Dragon War, it was universally recognized as the elven language, yet could still be spoken among other beings.

Real-world connections [ ]

Author Christopher Paolini based the Ancient Language on the languages of the ancient Norse and Celtic peoples. It is not certain which ones he used, however, since his statement on the origin of the name «Galbatorix» says that it is the combination of the Welsh words «galba» – meaning «big» – and «torix» – meaning «king». No such words (or even the letter ‘x’) exist in the Welsh language. In Paolini’s own words: